Assessing the role of civil society in South African water policy within the context of legal requirements and democratic discourse

This is the 2nd deliverable of the Citizen monitoring of the NWRS2  (National Water Resource Strategy 2) research project.

This report presents an assessment of the role of civil society in the South African water sector, with a particular emphasis on the South African Water Caucus (SAWC), a network of NGOs, CBOs, a trade union and individual activists in the South Africa water sector, active since 2001. The report aims to make this role explicit through a process of comparison and reflection. Such knowledge should be useful in strengthening this role – or as we shall seeafter analysis – these multiple roles.

The report explores what roles civil society could play in the water sector, by analysing the multiple meanings that the concept of civil society has, and the roles that these concepts imply (Part 2);

  • the legal requirements and general democratic or participatory discourse in the water sector, which practically creates spaces for civil society in the South African water sector (Part 3);
  • experiences of civil society in general in post-apartheid South Africa, that are comparable to experiences of SAWC and other civil society organisations in the water sector (Part 4); and against this background
  • the history of SAWC as it seen from both the inside and the outside, that is SAWC members as well as those who have interacted with them; it includes an overview of SAWC’s engagement with the 2nd National Water Resources Strategy (Part 5).

It then comes to conclusions about the role that civil society currently plays in the water sector and how this can be strengthened (Part 6).

The assessment follows a critical, reflexive and triangulated approach. It will provide the foundation for the rest of the project, where the objective is to facilitate a deeper and more meaningful contribution of civil society to the management and safe-guarding of South Africa’s water resources.

Please reference this report as: Munnik, V.; Wilson, J. Pereira, T. 2014. Assessing the role of civil society in South African water policy within the context of legal requirements and democratic discourse WRC project 2303. WRC: Pretoria

To access the full report please click on the image below:

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